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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of September 24 - 30, 2003

Features

Healing arts practitioners abound

Varied approaches to healing engage valley


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

Acupuncturist Joan Scheingraber carefully inserts tiny needles into a patientís back during a treatment session. Express photo by Dana DuGan

For the most part, people in the Wood River Valley exercise, groom themselves, play hard and live busy active lives. But things within the body arenít perhaps as clean and healthy as it appears on the outside. Fortunately, the valley is crawling with a profusion of healing arts practitioners offering everything from Reiki, acupuncture, herbology, homeopathy and oxygen therapy to Oriental medicine, yoga and shamanic healing.

The yellow pages are full of listings but the best way to go about finding someone who offers what you need is to ask questions of friends and those in the medical or therapeutic professions already.

 

Keep fit by keeping clean

One of the newest offerings to the valley is hydro-colon therapy offered by Aimee Frenettte. A registered nurse who worked for years in critical care, Frenette became aware that while patients were healed in one way they were suffering in another. The combination of drugs, diet and lack of movement were making patients ill from constipation. So, she became a colon therapist, calling her business Dancing Heron.

There are many health benefits of maintaining a strong and biologically sound colon. Good colon health is as much a function of the quality of food we eat, as it is our elimination status, Frenette said.

"Toxins accumulate when you have poor food combining. Things putrefy, they start to ferment," Frenette said. "A lot of naturopaths and some M.D.s out there concur your bowel is hugely related to good health and to disease. If you have a backed up colon, itís just recirculating toxins and bad parasites."

Hydro-colon therapy is not a new concept. It was very popular in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s, when irrigation machines were commonly found in hospitals and physicians' offices. Sophisticated hydro-therapy machines, make the therapy both safe and convenient.

Also known as colonic, the therapy is administered by a trained therapist, using a machine or gravity driven pump that sends large quantities of warm liquid into the nearly 6-foot long large intestine, while the patient lies comfortably on a table.

Among the benefits is having freedom from gas bloating, indigestion, and constipation and feeling less stomach bound.

 

Ancient medicine still viable

Chinese traditional medicine, of which acupuncture is a part, may be the fastest growing certified complementary medicine in the valley. While based in ancient methods and ideas, the methods are tremendously appealing to a variety of people. For one thing, itís non-invasive and is completely based on individual needs and requirements.

Acupuncture works on the theory that there is a meridian river of energy, or qi, that runs in networks throughout the entire body. The very small, sometimes hair-thin, needles are placed in such a way as to excite or engage that energy into certain areas.

The therapeutic goal of acupuncture is to regulate this energy to remedy some ailments.

Lisa Lintner, of Lotus Medicine at the Gateway in Hailey, has been practicing for eight years in the valley. She was a practitioner in Los Angles and in Portland for 10 years prior to that. She attended the Emperorís College of Traditional Oriental Medicine in Los Angeles, and is a master of acupuncture and herbology.

"My joy is helping people, empowering them to take care of their own health."

She, too, starts with digestion when interviewing a patient before a treatment. "My biggest thrust is getting people to eat right," she said. Though the theories and techniques behind the practice are ancient, "It all still holds true."

Over the centuries the Japanese have enhanced the practice of acupuncture, as have the French, who developed the insertion tubes that the extremely thin needles come in. The procedure is delicate, gentle and virtually painless.

Basically Chinese medicine views a personís body in miniature, seeking to improve balance and resource, while Western medicine is based on post-crisis intervention. However, Litner said, "I am working more and more with medical doctors, which is just delightful."

Another certified practitioner, Joan Scheingraber, works at the Pine Street Station in Hailey and at the Five Springs Wellness Center in Ketchum.

"If a person gets a headache, in Western medicine, you give them ibuprofen" she said. "In traditional Chinese medicine, it would depend. Itís like Greek and Italian, itís two different languages."

In fact, acupuncturists spend a lot of time simply discussing health and eating habits. The most important notion is to be sure an acupuncturist is licensed and certified to practice.

A good practitioner takes stock of the whole body as an vital energy field. "Itís a big interrelated field," Scheingraber said.

"For some people their acupuncturist is their primary physician," Lintner said. "Itís about optimal health. When they really get empowered that is exciting."

 

Oxygen: healthful and hip

Breathe in, breathe out. If you live in a healthy climate, such as the mountains in Idaho, itís a relatively effective process. But air quality is not very good in places with an overabundance of pollutants and pesticides. More oxygen directly in the blood, the most natural of our resources as humans, is the answer, claim oxygen therapy practitioners.

Oxygen bars are sort of hip in many cities where the air is bad and for those seeking a burst of energy, a safe way to revitalize or a natural high. In fact, people wait in lines in many casinos in Las Vegas to use these things, Kurt Schmidt said.

Schmidt, a Hailey resident, has the only oxygen machine of its kind in the valley. FDA approved, the machine is an electric device about the size of an end table. It produces oxygen by concentrating the oxygen that is already in the air and eliminating other gases. A client sits for approximately 15 minutes with two small tubes going into the nostrils. The oxygen is compression pumped through a bottle of natural flavoring such as lemon grass and then into the nose.

He also has supplemental oxygen in bottles, which can be added to water or spritzed into the mouth. He said the ingestion of stabilized oxygen bypasses the lungs and directly accesses oxygen starved blood and encourages beneficial flora in internal organs.

"It reboots your blood and strengthens it, gives you more energy," Schmidt said.

Many causes of disease are a direct result of poor oxygen intake. Sedentary lifestyles, poor foods, lack of exercise, and shallow breathing of polluted air all contribute to chronic low oxygen levels in the body. According to the American Lung Association, "Supplements of oxygen can have several benefits. Supplemental oxygen can improve sleep and mood, increase mental alertness and stamina, and allow bodies to carry out normal functions."

 

The healing power of plants

Herbalism has been practiced since the earliest days of humankind. Many pharmaceuticals can be directly linked to the plants that spawned them. Valerian is the source for the chemical compound known as Valium, aspirin originally came from willow bark and meadowsweet, and birth control pills were first made from Mexican Yams. Herbs have active and nonactive components herb users should be aware of, since the production of pill versions of herbs is unregulated.

Because of this, most medical professionals agree that herbs should not be taken prior to surgeries or during pregnancy unless investigated thoroughly.

Sales associate Sharon Parker of Amazon Herb Company says, "Itís much better to get your nutrition or balance from a whole food, whole plant, as opposed to just an aspect of that plant. Itís harder for the body to assimilate those.

Parker, who just returned from a wellness gathering in Jackson, Wyo., said, "So many medical professionals were there being open and listening to experts in alternative healing methods."

Medical doctors are starting to embrace alternative methods because, theyíre "being led by their by their patients," Parker suggested. "There are fantastic results they canít deny. In our company you can get all the clinical info you desire, because so may people require Ďscientific validation.í

"They ignore the fact that Shamanism, Native American and Chinese Traditional Medicine have hundreds of years of validation."

However, the Wood River Valley is an open book of information for anyone seeking to change their lives and health in viable and natural ways.

 

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